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Thread: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

  1. #1
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    Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    Man, all of a sudden these things are popping up on the local sales sites in the $300-$500 range with darn near all the accessories.

    Since I have very limited floor space in my shop (aka garage) I keep kicking around the idea that a multipurpose machine could be useful - except it's a wood working tool... 2' x 6' footprint for what could be 4 or 5 tools.

    My reasoning:

    *1-1/4 HP motor
    *Drill Press (Don't have one yet)
    *Horizontal boring (maybe easier than muscling a heavy piece of steel around in some situations)
    *Some have the band saw attachment (using a portaband for now)
    *Possibly put a self-centering chuck on it for (very) minor machining (There's a few examples on the internet of folks who have done it)
    *Ability to add wood accent pieces to some of my yard art efforts

    On the flip side:

    *Lowest RPM is 760 (but way easier to change speeds than moving belts on sheaves)
    *Not designed for metal working

    I am not be the only one that had this thought cross their minds. Just curious what others here may think of it.

    Metal working lathe

    Yeswelder MIG-205DS
    (3) Angle Grinders at the Ready
    Just a hobbyist trying to improve

  2. #2
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    Re: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    I have 2 of them, they are built tough and heavy, about the only thing you will be able to use on metal , would be the drill press...the lathe spins way too fast and is not set up for metal, I guess if you wanted to spin a shaft and sand it, but no machine work...for the right price its worth it..

  3. #3
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    Re: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    I really regret getting rid of mine.

    To address your points---

    1) It's not just a 1-1/4hp motor. It's a variable speed motor. Big difference. Price a 1-1/4hp motor and all the gadgetry you'd need to slow it down or speed it up.

    2) You can always build a cradle that sits on the rails (pulleys and jack shaft) if you want to slow the RPM's down even more.

    3) It's not as small a footprint as you'd think because you still have to have room for all the accessories that bolt into it. I used to have the full kit - belt/disk sander, table saw, band saw, jig saw, etc -- and all those extra bits really take up a lot of room on the walls or wherever you store them.

    4) Depending on what you realistically want to do, you can get a lot of use out of the modularity. In the vertical drill press mode, for example, the thing takes up the space of two standard floor mount drill presses because the lower rails are still there. However, if you really wanted a smaller footprint, you could cut the tubes shorter than they come. You can always make accessories that don't come with the it -- like a 2x72 belt grinder.

    5) Modularity can suck big balls some times. Yea, it sounds neat, but you really need to keep your eye on what you're doing. There's nothing worse than getting the next tool installed and ready only to remember that you forgot to make one cut.... and now have to disassemble the X and reinstall the Y to make that "one more cut"!! Nothing about all those accessories is light and easy to move. They are built well and you'll know it as soon as you need to manhandle the bandsaw or belt sander into place.

    I always said that I was going to build separate stands for the band saw and belt sander, with their own motors, just so I wouldn't have to futz with them any more.

    6) The table saw will get you through a project but the OEM table is far too small for 70% of what you might do around the house. If you're only making birdhouses or the like, it's okay. Start trying to cut full sheets of plywood, though, and you'll quickly want a couple hundred dollars worth of roller stands to support the wood on every side.

    If you take a few minutes out of your day to search for "shopsmith mods" on Pinterest, you'll find quite a few neat ideas, including ways to store all the accessory parts. Well worth the time it takes, especially before dropping the money on one.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    I really regret getting rid of mine.

    To address your points---

    1) It's not just a 1-1/4hp motor. It's a variable speed motor. Big difference. Price a 1-1/4hp motor and all the gadgetry you'd need to slow it down or speed it up.

    2) You can always build a cradle that sits on the rails (pulleys and jack shaft) if you want to slow the RPM's down even more.

    3) It's not as small a footprint as you'd think because you still have to have room for all the accessories that bolt into it. I used to have the full kit - belt/disk sander, table saw, band saw, jig saw, etc -- and all those extra bits really take up a lot of room on the walls or wherever you store them.

    4) Depending on what you realistically want to do, you can get a lot of use out of the modularity. In the vertical drill press mode, for example, the thing takes up the space of two standard floor mount drill presses because the lower rails are still there. However, if you really wanted a smaller footprint, you could cut the tubes shorter than they come. You can always make accessories that don't come with the it -- like a 2x72 belt grinder.

    5) Modularity can suck big balls some times. Yea, it sounds neat, but you really need to keep your eye on what you're doing. There's nothing worse than getting the next tool installed and ready only to remember that you forgot to make one cut.... and now have to disassemble the X and reinstall the Y to make that "one more cut"!! Nothing about all those accessories is light and easy to move. They are built well and you'll know it as soon as you need to manhandle the bandsaw or belt sander into place.

    I always said that I was going to build separate stands for the band saw and belt sander, with their own motors, just so I wouldn't have to futz with them any more.

    6) The table saw will get you through a project but the OEM table is far too small for 70% of what you might do around the house. If you're only making birdhouses or the like, it's okay. Start trying to cut full sheets of plywood, though, and you'll quickly want a couple hundred dollars worth of roller stands to support the wood on every side.

    If you take a few minutes out of your day to search for "shopsmith mods" on Pinterest, you'll find quite a few neat ideas, including ways to store all the accessory parts. Well worth the time it takes, especially before dropping the money on one.
    This is great - I can't thank you enough for taking the time to detail all this.

    i was wondering about cutting the tubes shorter. Maybe a foot shorter would be huge. Slowing the spindle speed down - I see they make a gearbox/reducer specifically for that. Since I work at a PT supplier, I could see adapting one of my reducers to slow the spindle down - at least for horizontal boring and/or minor milling. The ease with the stock speed adjuster is what always caught my attention with these. And boy howdy - I intimately know what a 1.25HP VFD-ready motor and a small VFD would run (but I still bug my vendors from time to time to see if any demo units are being retired).
    Yeswelder MIG-205DS
    (3) Angle Grinders at the Ready
    Just a hobbyist trying to improve

  6. #5
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    Re: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    Quote Originally Posted by Shootr View Post
    i was wondering about cutting the tubes shorter. Maybe a foot shorter would be huge. Slowing the spindle speed down - I see they make a gearbox/reducer specifically for that. Since I work at a PT supplier, I could see adapting one of my reducers to slow the spindle down - at least for horizontal boring and/or minor milling. The ease with the stock speed adjuster is what always caught my attention with these.
    Cutting the tubes shorter is easy work and doesn't bother anything. You can always buy new tubes from SS if you want to sell the thing or put it back to original. The only reason for the length is that they wanted to get a decent size wood lathe in there. If you don't need to turn wood.... you really don't need tubes that long. Sure, it can be handy for some drilling operations, so that needs to be considered.

    The only thing I don't really like about them is the little plastic coupler that joins the motor to the various bits. It works, and they are durable, but it always seemed a little chintzy to my mind.

    It's definitely a tool that you should think about before you buy it. I saw one for sale the other day and the guy was only asking $300. Bare bones, maybe, but three bills for a variable speed motor of that size, that I could easily chop down and make into a belt grinder..... that caught my eye, especially since I'd just paid half that to get a tiny little Jet 2x48 belt grinder that doesn't have even half the horsepower. Of course, the Jet is minuscule in comparison and easy to move around out of the way... so it's a trade-off.

  7. #6
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    Re: Used ShopSmith Mark V for Home Hobbyist Metalwork

    Many years ago, I restored a very very early model and I still have it. Its in dedicated drill press mode as I have other machines to cut wood etc. All told, its not a bad drill press very well made, for the age. The biggest issue is that the table is a pain to adjust up and down as you really need to keep the rails well lubricated.Name:  IMG_20140901_091106 small.jpg
Views: 87
Size:  105.5 KB The older Shopsmiths had variable speed as well. This is the variable pulley system that allows speed adjustment. Name:  IMG_20140904_173931.jpg
Views: 87
Size:  154.6 KB I have cut wood on it, but I have never turned any wood on it. All told, I wouldn't do it again.

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